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E04227: An anonymous author compiles the Miracles of Artemios, a collection of miracles (occurring between c. 582 and c. 668) effected by *Artemios (martyr of Antioch under Julian, S01128) and his female assistant *Phebronia (martyr of Nisibis, S01588) at Artemios' cult and burial site within the church of *John the Baptist (S00020) in the Oxeia quarter of Constantinople. The miracles are mostly effected through incubation, and the majority of healings are of diseases of the male genitals and groin. Written in Greek in Constantinople, 582/668; assembled as a collection, 658/668. Overview entry

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posted on 2017-10-30, 00:00 authored by erizos
Miracles of Artemios (BHG 173)


1. The saint heals the son of an archiatros, whose testicles are diseased. In a dream the son sees Artemios squeezing his testicles, and is cured.

2. The saint heals a man from ‘the Gulf’, suffering from foot pain and/or hernias. In a dream Artemios squeezes his testicles, and the man is cured.

3. The saint heals a man from Amastris living in Constantinople, with a boil on his testicles. He applies a wax-salve obtained at the shrine, and soon sees the saint pretending to lance his boil with a scalpel. He is cured.

4. A man from Africa visits Constantinople to dedicate a votive lamp for his son, who has a disease of the testicles. At that same moment, his son in Africa is cured.

5. The saint heals a Chian merchant suffering from a hernia. After three months of dedicating himself, he makes to sail away, but Artemios touches his testicles in a dream, and he is cured.

6. The saint heals a sailor who has a disease of the testicles, caused by an indwelling demon. He sees Artemios in a dream, who suspends him in the air and expels the demon.

7. The saint heals a young man who has suffered a hernia after betting to lift a heavy weight. He sees Artemios in a dream, who admonishes him for betting, and then treads on his stomach and heals him.

8. The saint heals a Phrygian with swollen testicles, who talks incessantly at the shrine. Artemios appears to him in a dream, heals him, and tells him to leave.

9. A Rhodian with a hernia spends some time at the shrine, but is then forced to return to Rhodes. Upon returning he has a vision of Artemios, and is cured.

10. A silver dealer’s son has a hernia, because of a demon. His mother brings him repeatedly to the shrine, and Artemios appears to her at home in a dream, and heals her son.

11. The saint heals an infant suffering from a hernia. The child’s mother dedicates a votive lamp in a bathhouse where she lives, sees the saint in a dream, and wakes to find the infant cured.

12. The saint heals a boy suffering from a hernia. His mother goes to a church of the Virgin, but she appears and advises her to go to the shrine of the saint, where Artemios appears in a dream and heals the boy.

13. An old man suffering from a disease of the testicles withdraws from the saint’s shrine and falls asleep en route home. In a dream the saint pricks his testicles. He returns to the shrine and is healed.

14. The saint heals a sailor with a disease of the testicles, who withdraws from the shrine, but Artemios then appears on board the patient’s ship, treads on his testicles, and cures him.

15. A sceptic, Narses, is struck with a swelling of the testicles, but comes to the shrine, and has a dream in which the saint slays a dove against his testicles. He is cured.

16. The saint heals an Alexandrian with a hernia. In a dream Artemios gives the patient a gold coin, which upon waking he discovers to be a wax salve. He is cured.

17. In the reign of Heraclius, an Alexandrian actor accompanies the herniated relative of a patrikios to the shrine of Artemios. The saint heals the patient but briefly punishes the acrobat with a hernia.

18. In the reign of Heraclius, the clothes of a devotee of the saint are stolen. The saint reveals the identity of the thief, but at a subsequent trial the victim fulfils his oath not to do the perpetrator harm.

19. The saint heals a chartoularios who has injured his hip, using oil from the shrine’s lamps. The saint protects him from a further fall.

20. The saint heals the same chartoularios (cf. Mir. 19) of sores on his penis, at which doctors have despaired, with the use of salt and vinegar.

21. In the period c.640-643/4, a deacon of Hagia Sophia and poietes of the Blue Faction relates how, after a failed surgery on his testicles, he applies some of the saint’s oil, and is soon cured.

22. A man (the subject also of Mir. 18) is suffering with diseases, and is admitted to hospital where he develops a severe hernia. The saint appears in a dream and pierces his testicles, and then instructs a physician’s assistant in how to care for him.

23. In the reign of Constans II, the saint heals a priest of his own church, whom doctors have failed.

24. A girl is cured of a hernia, after Artemios advises her mother to supplicate Phebronia. A sermonette attacks Hippocratic doctors.

25. The saint heals a man with a disease of the testicles, whom doctors have failed. Artemios appears as a butcher in a dream, opens him up, and rearranges his intestines. A sermonette attacks surgeons.

26. The saint heals a man suffering from a hernia. Three times he advises him to seek a cure with the blacksmith, where a miraculous cure occurs. A sermonette attacks Hippocratic doctors.

27. The saint in a dream heals a shipbuilder with swollen testicles while the patient is near Gaul. A sermonette attacks secular doctors.

28. The saint heals a boy with an intestinal hernia. A sermonette attacks secular doctors and sceptics.

29. The saint heals a bowmaker with a hernia. Artemios appears in a dream during the all-night vigil, and the patient is healed. A sermonette attacks surgeons.

30. The saint heals a tanner, and four other men, with a hernia. A sermonette attacks secular doctors.

31. The saint, in a dream, heals the son of a noblewoman from a disease of the testicles. The concluding sentences attack secular doctors.

32. In the reign of Maurice, an Alexandrian suffers a hernia. After a friend recounts his own healing, the man visits the shrine and is healed. A sermonette attacks Jews, heretics, pagans, Buddhists, and Manichaeans.

33. The saint heals both a boy from a hernia and a friend of his father from a diseased chest. Artemios appears in a dream to the friend, and both patients are healed with a wax-salve.

34. In the reign of Heraclius, Artemios heals a girl dead from plague. In a vision, she sees him intervening with angels, and later identifies him with one of his images. A sermonette celebrates the saint's miracles.

35. The saint heals a Rhodian shipowner with a hernia who has spent two years at the shrine.

36. The saint heals the son of a woman from a hernia, when she cannot afford a secular doctor. They visit the shrine and Artemios appears in a dream to heal the boy, who becomes a monk of the Pege.

37. The saint heals two monks of the Pege Monastery (cf. Mir. 36) from hernias, one of whom he has punished with such for his scepticism.

38. In a dream, the saint heals a boy and devotee of Artemios, George, from a hernia. A sermonette attacks the Jews.

39. During the patriarchate of Sergius (610-638), the saint heals the same George (cf. Mir. 38), now a priest on Plateia, from disease.

40. While a deacon on Plateia, the same George (cf. Mir. 38-39) falls ill with a hernia. The saint cures him in a dream.

41. In the reign of Constans II, the saint heals a man with a hernia through a dream. A sermonette attacks trinitarian heretics.

42. Through a dream, the saint heals a woman’s son from a disease of the testicles.

43. Through a dream, the saint heals a woman’s son from a disease of the testicles.

44. The saint heals a coppersmith at home through a dream. A short sermonette celebrates Artemios’ powers.

45. The saint heals a woman’s son, suffering from a disease of the testicles. Phebronia appears to the woman in a dream, and heals the boy.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Artemios, martyr in Antioch on the Orontes : S01128 John the Baptist : S00020 Phebronia, martyr : S01588

Saint Name in Source

Ἀρτέμιος Πρόδρομος Φεβρωνία

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Production and selling of eulogiai, tokens

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Uncertainty/scepticism/rejection of a saint

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Other forms of veneration of an image

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Healing diseases and disabilities Exorcism Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Jews Pagans Foreigners (including Barbarians) Officials Merchants and artisans Physicians

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Contact relic - wax Contact relic - oil

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Oil lamps/candles Registers of miracles


The Miracles of Artemios is a collection of 45 miracle-stories, effected by the saint at and around his burial and cult site in the church of St. John the Baptist in the Oxeia quarter of Constantinople. Artemios was an Alexandrian dux and martyr of the reign of Julian, who has an independent Martyrdom (E06781). The Miracles does not include this passio, although the stories on occasion show some acquaintance with it. Nothing is known of the cult before the period described in the Miracles. The Miracles’ vignettes stretch from (at least) the reign of Maurice (582-602) to that of Constans II (641-668). The current text was compiled in the period 658-668: the terminus post quem is provided by the last datable event mentioned within the text (Mir. 41: 4 October 658) and the terminus ante quem by the fact that Constans is there described as still alive (as he is too in Mir. 23). The text is not, however, the product of a single pen, but seems instead to be a compilation of several parts. Those narratives at the beginning and end of the collection (Mir. 1-14, 42-45) are short, somewhat unembellished, healing narratives of a more-or-less standardised kind; while those of the central section are far more elaborate and varied, and seem to fall into rough thematic doublets or groups. One such group is conspicuous because all of its miracles (24-31) conclude with some sermonettes on secular medicine. The most obvious explanation for this basic dissonance is that the collection as we have it has been composed from at least three different parts: first, an earlier, more simple collection which opens the text; second, an original composition in the central section (where the addition of the sermonettes to some miracles perhaps indicates the exploitation of another, pre-existent collection of miracles); and third, a final addition of the four concluding miracles. Besides pre-existent collections of written material preserved within the shrine itself, the text also draws, no doubt, on the oral traditions then circulating amongst the shrine’s clientele. The text itself describes in vivid terms the community of clerics and lay devotees who gathered around the shrine, in particular for its weekend vigil, and several such persons are the protagonists of individual miracles. One such person is an anonymous devotee of the saint’s vigil who features in two long and detailed miracles (Mir. 18, 22); another is George, a cleric and devotee of Artemios, who features as protagonist in three different miracles (Mir. 38-40). It seems clear, then, that the compiler draws from the oral accounts, or perhaps even written records, which the saint’s clerics and devotees produced, and which provide these central miracles with their vivid detail and insight. Indeed, although the compiler of the collection is anonymous, it is reasonable to suppose that he is also a lay devotee of the saint, and perhaps even one of those persons who feature prominently in the text. Through descriptions of this vigil, and other scattered details, we are offered an unparalleled perspective both on the layout of the church of St. John—which can be reconstructed in some detail—and on the practices of Artemios’s devotees. The saint’s cult was an incubatory healing cult, in which the sick came to the shrine and slept overnight, in the hope of a miraculous cure. The collection underlines the importance of performing ‘the customary rites’ in advance of a cure, which seems to mean the dedication of a votive lamp and other offerings. The weekly vigil is also presented as especially efficacious, for on this night it was possible to sleep in and around the crypt where the tomb which contained the saint’s relics was sited (see e.g. Mir. 17). Almost all of the cures occur within the church of St John itself, or else upon those who have spent some time there and then withdrawn. The principal mode of healing is a miraculous dream, sometimes in combination with the application of holy oil taken from the tomb’s lamps, or a wax-salve imprinted with the image of the saint. Almost all of the miracles concern healing, but also of a particular kind. For Artemios was a specialist in diseases of the male genitals and groin, which dominate the entire collection. Sick women at the shrine could expect a vision of the martyr *Phebronia, who appears in several places as Artemios’ female equivalent (Mir. 6, 23, 24, 38, 45). In contrast to equivalent collections, Artemios does not collaborate with secular doctors, or depend on quasi-Hippocratic cures. Indeed, one of the most striking features of the text is the series of sermonettes which punctuate the central miracles and denounce in virulent terms the inadequacies of contemporaneous Hippocratic medicine (Mir. 24-31). The text was compiled at a moment of high drama for the eastern Roman Empire, in which its territorial holdings, and revenues, had been dramatically reduced through the Arab conquests. This context is however strikingly absent from the collection, which instead paints a picture of vivid and thriving urban life, in particular amongst the capital’s middle classes, who make up the vast majority of the saint’s devotees. Nevertheless, it has been suggested the text offers a powerful political metaphor related to the perceived disease of the body politic: that the cure for all ailments, whether derived from sin or from natural causes, is not to turn to other men, but rather to propitiate and to trust in God.


Text and translation: Crisafulli, V. S., and Nesbitt, J. W., The Miracles of St. Artemios: A Collection of Miracle Stories by an Anonymous Author of Seventh-Century Byzantium (Leiden, 1997) Further reading: Alwis, A. ‘Men in pain: masculinity, medicine and the Miracles of St. Artemios,’ Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 36 (2012) 1-19. Déroche, V. ‘Pourquoi écrivait-on des recueils de miracles? L’exemple des Miracles de Saint Artémios,’ in Jolivet-Lévy, C. et al. (eds), Les saints et leur sanctuaire à Byzance: Textes, images et monuments (Paris, 1993) 95-116. Efthymiadis, S. ‘A day and ten months in the life of a lonely bachelor: the other Byzantium in Miracula S. Artemii 18 and 22,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 58 (2004) 1-26. Haldon, J. ‘Supplementary Essay: The Miracles of Artemios and Contemporary Attitudes: Context and Significance,’ in Crisafulli and Nesbitt, Miracles of Artemios 33-75. Krueger, D. Writing and Holiness: The Practice of Authorship in the Early Christian East (Phildelphia, PA, 2004) 63-70.

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